Villa player ratings vs Liverpool: Kamara excellent but issues at both ends of pitch

Aston Villa fell to a 3-1 defeat to Liverpool on Boxing Day as Unai Emery suffered his first Premier League defeat since taking charge.

Villa fell behind to an early goal from Mo Salah before Virgil van Dijk doubled their lead before half-time, and so despite some positive moments in the first half we had it all to do coming out after the break.

READ MORE: What Emery said after being asked about Villa transfer plans for January

Emery undoubtedly got the right response from his players as we enjoyed a strong spell in the second half where we were on top, and eventually Ollie Watkins found a breakthrough on the hour mark to open the game up.

However, despite continuing to create chances and look a threat, we were unable to register an equaliser as Liverpool eventually found a way to kill the game off in the latter stages.

The Villa boss admitted that he was disappointed with the result after the game, but he was keen to praise the attitude shown by his players and was pleased with certain things he saw in the encounter that we will look to build and improve on.

Aston Villa player ratings vs Liverpool

Robin Olsen, 5 – Produced some key saves, but ultimately an uneasy and worrying presence between the posts for the most part. Struggled with his distribution again and just doesn’t give the impression of being a solid back-up option.

Ashley Young, 5 – Struggled with the pace of Liverpool on the counter attack in particular as he was caught out in our high line and left exposed. Didn’t overlap enough either when attacking perhaps in fear of the defensive ramifications if we lost possession.

Ezri Konsa, 5 – Similar story for our entire backline as we looked susceptible to being caught out every time Liverpool countered. Did look strong at times but was also struggling with the pace of their attack.

Tyrone Mings, 5 – A calm head in possession when things were a bit erratic behind him, but also struggled defensively in this one as we couldn’t get to grips with Liverpool’s attacking players and conceded two poor goals.

Lucas Digne, 5 – Showed a bit more going forward than Young but also struggled with his defensive duties. Further, if Villa are to persist with crossing the ball so much into the box, we perhaps need to think about having a different option up top that Emery can use for it to be more effective.

John McGinn, 6 – Saw his quality at times with his passing and deliveries into the box from that wide right position, and he does seem to be more impactful offensively in that role. Need more from him though attacking from midfield and shifting inside to help control that area of the pitch while he also missed a big chance.

Boubacar Kamara, 7.5 – Got better as the game went on. Was commanding and dominant in midfield during our best spell in the game as he constantly won possession back for us and kept our pressure up. A brilliant presence in the heart of the side even if he did struggle with the rest of the team in dealing with Liverpool’s attacking threat at times too.

Douglas Luiz, 5 – Not on his game in this one as he was sloppy in possession when we needed more quality and control from him. Will be disappointed he wasn’t more influential to stem the pressure from Liverpool.

Emi Buendia, 5.5 – Hit and miss from the Argentine playmaker. On one hand he consistently found space between the lines to link things together and showed some wonderful skill, but he was wasteful in possession too often and couldn’t make a decisive impact on the game. Need more quality from him to unlock teams.

Ollie Watkins, 6 – Took his goal really well and sparked us back into life as we piled on the pressure in the second half. However, he still needs to be much more clinical and ruthless in front of goal as he will get chances but isn’t accurate or consistent enough. Especially in games against the top sides, we can’t afford to miss big opportunities and those are the moments he’ll be remembered for instead of the crucial work-rate and movement he offers.

Leon Bailey, 5 – Drove at the Liverpool defence with purpose and intent on many occasions but couldn’t find the end product. Had a big chance of his own to get on the scoresheet but fluffed his effort, and so he’ll be disappointed he couldn’t make a bigger impression on the game.


Danny Ings, N/A

Leander Dendoncker, N/A

Philippe Coutinho, N/A